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Product Code: JLA_18_3_210

Dave F. Farson
Hae Woon Choi
Department of Industrial, Welding and Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43221

Chunmeng Lu
L. James Lee
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43221

Internal channels in a polymer are widely used in biotechnology applications such as DNA stretching and in devices such as micrototal analysis systems and lab on a chip systems. For manufacturing prototype devices, femtosecond pulsed laser energy has been used to implement a convenient direct write bulk-machining process in glass. In this technique, the laser beam is focused inside of a transparent material, resulting in the ablation of an internal channel. Initial experiments for internal channel fabrication in a poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) polymer revealed a significant problem with clogging of channels by debris and rough, fractured channel walls. In this article, we describe a new method to fabricate internal channels in PMMA using femtosecond pulsed laser energy and a gas-assisted material removal concept. Relatively smooth channels with a minimum diameter of 2 μm, a maximum diameter of 20 μm, and a maximum length of 10 mm were achieved with this technique.

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